Presidential Succession

Libertyville HS
• Constitution
– Article II, Section 1,
paragraph 6 (as amended)
• 20th Amendment
– If president dies before
taking office, VP takes over
as president
• 25th Amendment
– VP to become pres if…
• Pres dead, resignation
• Pres incapable of serving
• Federal Laws
– Presidential Succession Act of
1792 (Pres Pro Temp, then
Speaker, then Cabinet
– Presidential Succession Act of
1947 (Flip flopped Speaker &
Pres pro temp)
– Never an acting officer; only
appointed & confirmed by US
senate (& qualified to be
– Serve as pres until disability
removed or new Pres elected
• Vice President Joe Biden
• Speaker Nancy Pelosi
• President Pro Tempore
Robert Byrd
• Secretary of State Hillary
• Secretary of the Treasury
Tim Geithner
• Secretary of Defense
Robert Gates
• Attorney General Eric
• Secretary of Interior Ken
• Secretary of Agriculture Tom
• Secretary of Commerce Gary
• Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis
• Secretary of Health and
Human Services Kathleen
• Secretary of Housing and
Urban Development Shaun
• Secretary of Transportation
Ray LaHood
• Secretary of Energy
Stephen Chu
• Secretary of Education
Arne Duncan
• Secretary of Veterans
Affairs Eric Shinseki
• Secretary of Homeland
Security Janet Napolitano
• President and all successors
are never in the same place
at the same time
• One eligible successor, one
house member from each
party, and one senator from
each party are randomly
selected and are held
separate and apart from all
• Purpose: to assure
succession of government in
event of death of everyone
• Partisan difference
between Executive,
Legislative branch
• President pro temp is OLD!
• One DC nuke away from
killing all successors
• Swine flu / viral / biological
attack could cause mass
vacancies in DC

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